tv Today in Washington CSPAN May 11, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT
mr. murdoch, and although i had heard similar insinuations from others close to mr. brown that there was this tone of threat about it. the fact is that it didn't occur to me that they were real or proper or, i just, i just dismissed them, i suppose. >> some would say an elected government has executive power, or through parliament, would be quite entitled to bring in media policies which thought to be in the public interest but nonetheless did impact on the commercial interests of the media companies. would you agree? >> well, i'm sure that it is absolute, of course it's possible governments to debate regulation and policy on the
media. of course, i agree with that. >> i'm just trying to explore your thinking in 2010. you have here mr. brown allegedly on your evidence hostile to news international. and you have mr. cameron, who is -- is that correct, he is favorable to news international? >> he wasn't hostile to "the sun." >> just have this would wait in your thinking. you are the chief executive officer now, so that's something you should be thinking about, wouldn't you agree? >> it depends if you, i mean, there is, gordon brown is, if you accept the premise that gordon brown is a responsible politician, that doesn't put personal prejudice or bitterness
before his policymaking decisions. so if you accept that premise then the threats are pointless and should be dismissed. however, if he's not that person and he doesn't put those things, then that's a failing because it shouldn't be about his personal prejudice. "the sun" supported the labour party for many, many years. and then decided to make a change. so it didn't occur to me at the time that mr. brown and his colleagues would devote their time into carrying this out. >> of course it might of been part have been implied settlement between "the sun" and the labour party, in power for 10 years. that's the quid pro quo support, that able party would not --
[inaudible] which could harm new centers of news international and other organizations. had that thought process ever pass through your mind? >> no. >> okay. i'm going to come back to mr. cameron. though there's an absence, isn't there, of text messages, which might have existed? >> yes, that is correct. >> can we see however far we get, said that he tested you a dozen times go up to a dozen times a day, is that true? >> no, thankfully. >> okay. a handful of times at a? >> no. i mean, i have read this as well, 12 times a day, it's preposterous. one would hope the leader of the opposition or prime minister would have better things to do. i as chief executive, i did. i would text mr. camp or, vice
versa, on occasions, like a lot of people. >> can you give us a idea of frequency? >> probably more between janua january 2010, maybe during the election campaign, maybe slightly more but on average, once a week. >> critical time, as you say, the election campaign march to may 2010. can you give us an idea of frequency relation to that period of? >> well, maybe twice a week. >> -- [inaudible] the content of any of these messages of? >> some if not the majority work to do with organization. so meeting of or arranging to
speak, and some were about social location, and occasionally some would be my own personal comment on perhaps a tv debate, something like that. >> how often do you think you met with him socially during this period? let's take the first five months of 2010. ignore the record, because we -- >> at least it gives me memory, refreshed. sorry, what was the period of time the? >> let's just say the run up to the 2010th election, which was i think on the sixth of may, 2010, maybe a long about that exact day. for five months before them. >> yes. >> how often did you meet with him or did you meet with him socially? >> i did meet with him between january 20 and the election. as you see i have no record of
it. so i think we will have met about, incredibly busy -- i would say probably three or four times. >> what comments, if any, did you make on his performance in the television debates? can you remember that? >> particular great lengths, like everybody i felt first of all it was a very good. that was it. >> did you text the other two party leaders? >> i didn't text gordon brown. >> everybody wants to know how his tax were signed off. can you help? >> in -- >> well, you probably don't,
actually. i'm happy to be overruled, frankly. [laughter] >> what was the decision? [laughter] >> answer the question and. >> he would sign them off d.c., in the main. >> anything else? >> occasionally he would sign them off lol, lots of love. and tell i told him it meant laugh out loud. andy didn't anymore. in the main d.c., i -- >> right. [inaudible] >> did he make, or did you make rather phone calls to his
constituency home? >> no, actually. >> did you often pop around through each other's houses? >> no, i think often popping around is overstating the case spirit how would you put a? >> we occasionally met in the countryside, because i was there every weekend, and he was there in his constituency. >> it's also said, i think this is still in the times, was there a meeting -- [inaudible] ahead of which he texted each other to make sure you would not be seen together a? >> thought it might've been -- i have been to the heathrow point-to-point because my husband is chairman, and i think mr. cameron has been, do. it's in his constituency.
was the question did we meet the? sorry. >> did you text each other beforehand? >> there had been many point-to-point over the years, as well as annual. was there a particular one? >> can you remember this or not? >> which? >> date has not been put on this. of course, there will be an annual event. >> where did you say you read it a? >> at times on tuesday. >> right. i did read that. the suggestion in the times that we both were at the same point-to-point, but we didn't meet, meet up. because there some reason why that was significant but it is too we did meet up. i was there very briefly, and i think, he did meet up with my husband.
>> did you attend his private birthday party in october 2010? >> yes. >> i'll ask you these questions. do you have any communication with mr. cameron following the publication of "the guardian's" milly dowler store, communication would be about that story? >> i'm sure we discussed it between july '09 and july 2011. >> mr. jay asked about '09. the asked about 11. in other words, the story which came out of "the guardian" generated -- >> right. no, i don't think i did. have any direct contact. sorry. >> any other question which is a question in fact thought about asking but i will ask it now.
did you discuss the phone hacking allegations against news international with mr. cameron at any time between july '09 guardian story and your departure from news international? >> yes, i did. >> now, i wouldn't want you to say anything which it bears on the current peace investigations, you understand. in other words, relates to anybody in particular in general terms can you assist us with the content of those discussions of? >> i think on occasion, you know, not very often, maybe once or twice, because of the news and because, you know, the phone hacking story was sort of a constant, it kept coming up. we would bring this up but in the most general terms. maybe in 2010 we had a more
specific conversation about it, which i think it -- that's about right. >> can you tell us about that one? >> it was more, it was one i remember rather than it being in general terms of the story being around or what happened that d day. i'm just very concerned because i thought you were warning me spent i don't know what you going to say, mrs. brooks. if this is a general conversation it may relate to mr. cameron state of mind rather than any underlying factor i think you can probably tell us about it. >> i don't think it was anything he would had done in public. it was about latest develop and. and i would say to him what i say to everybody updates. we had a conversation about it. i just particularly remember that.
>> i think the context must be that he was concerned that this went beyond mulcaire, is that fair, without being more specific than that? >> probably, yes. i mean, it was a general conversation with the, in late 2010th about the increase in the civil cases. >> the increase in civil cases can only be an indication that this phenomenon is not limited to mulcaire. or least that's the very strong -- are we agreed about that without being a more precise? >> i think news international has acknowledged that publicly anyway. spit can you help us with what mr. cameron said? >> a couple of years, it was, it was a general discussion about, i think he asked me what the
update was. i think it'd been on the news that day and i think explain the story behind the news. nothing, no secretive information, no privileged information, just a general update. i'm sorry, i can't member the date that i don't have my record. >> you're focusing on what you told him which i'm not interested in. i'm concerned just with what he might have said, that's all spent i think he asked me. i think it'd been in the news that day. i think it was about a new civil case it cannot only asked me about it, and i responded accordingly. [inaudible] and possibly having second thoughts about that? >> no. no, not in that instance. >> on any other instance of? >> no. >> are you sure about that? >> yes. [inaudible] what these conversations were about a far from the general --
>> it's because they were very general. they weren't specific, it was particularly around the civil cases in 2010. your question was do we ever speak about it in those two years, and my answer is yes, we did. very generally, but i do remember in late 2010 having a particular perhaps more detailed conversation, because if you go back in the chronology of the phone hacking situation, that was when the civil cases were coming in and being made newsworthy. >> okay. just ask you on a different topic. you've been a close friend of -- for over 10 years, is that right? >> longer actually, but yes. >> they have a country house in oxfordshire as well, don't they? >> yes, they do.
>> about how often have you been in the freud home in the country, your home in the country, or the cameron's constituency home in the company of other politicians? >> just to distill that to make it easy to dash to understand, how long i've been in david cameron so with other politicians? >> yes, or the freud's country home or your home, approximately. >> i'm pretty sure never, david cameron's home, in the countryside. i think once may be george osborne they been present at the dinner at my home, and i think the only time at elizabeth murdoch and matthew freud's house was her 40th in, a couple of years ago.
>> the 40th party, we've got under tab 40, haven't we? that's the last tab which was in august 2008. stick it was actually held -- [inaudible] >> well done. [laughter] >> anyway, we can see who was there. to be fair, a range of politicians across the sound or parties, was it? >> were there no liberal democrats? no. right, yes, i can see the list. >> do you know bskyb is still a client of freud communication?
>> i don't. i'm sure, i mean freud communication is a huge country. i don't know the full client list. i'm pretty sure they have a represented bskyb on a corporate level, but i'm sure they would have represented lots of other areas of sky. i do know currently, but probably. >> just ask you some general questions about -- when we are made aware that the bid would be made? >> i think before, before the public announcement, and shortly before the public announcement. >> before the general election or after? >> i think it was before. yeah, before. i just can't remember when the public announcement was. it was a shortly before.
>> this is obviously a big moment for news corp. i appreciate you are -- that distinction is understood. werther not discussions by either of the murdochs about the timing of the bid? >> i played no formal role in the bskyb transaction come and certainly not the strategy of timing and all that kind of thing. i was made aware that it was on the cards, thursday, before the public announcement. 86 weeks, a couple him of month beforehand. >> it would have knock-on effects of news international as well, wouldn't it? >> well, not particularly, no, no. >> did news international had no interest in it, why we told about it and? >> it wasn't that we had no interest. but at the time i didn't come it
didn't, the way it was presented to me was, i didn't think is going to have an effect on news international. >> you said that you had no formal role in the bskyb bid, and i quite understand that. because there is no reason why you should, but what about informally? i mean, here as we've been discussing you are extremely well-connected to very, very senior politicians, across the range, and that's heart of your job, as you described. wouldn't your views, how it might work out, how it might play, be extreme body, informally, not formally? >> extreme value to news corp the? >> to news corp your to your
ultimate boss, tim mr. murdoch. >> it was never quite put in those terms, but i did have been in formal role, as you suggest. mainly after the formation of the come if you want to call it does for better, the anti-bskyb a lengthy because that directly in some ways brought news international into what was a news corp. transaction. because the anti-sky alliance was i think the be peacekeeper "the daily mail," the telegraph, british telecom, independent, well, everyone. everyone else audibly. and once they formed the alliance and were using their own news outlets to promote their view, and also to lobby politicians, then i suppose i probably did get involved. but again, not in video or the
transactional or the strategy behind. >> no, not the deal or strategy behind it. it's the, it's perhaps the public presentation, perhaps the way in which the criticisms could be counted. perhaps using all your experience borne out of the relationships you've been careful to develop for professional reasons, and doubtfully for personal reasons, over the years? >> i think in some circumstances that may be true, but in this one it was the quasi-judicial decision. and i don't think my input or, as you say, using that, was of relevance. obviously, in light of the
anti-sky bid alliance lobbying that i would waste no opportunity in putting what was probably our case on the deal, not ours news international, but ours news corp. but because of the nature of the decision i'm not sure i was in, it was of any value particularly, apart from the counter voice in a very large opposition. >> when we first made aware of the code-named rubicon, can you recall the? >> i think when i was, i was told about it here i may have heard it before but i think i was told what that was spent sure you are told about it but when was that? >> around the same time. >> a few weeks before, is that it's?
>> maybe a couple months before. six to eight weeks before. >> do you know he chose that code-named? >> no, i don't come but i think it might have been james murdoch but i don't know that. >> i be someone who enjoys classical illusions. was it a codename which anybody in government knew about? >> that i don't think so. spent esther osborne or mr. hunt? >> i never heard them acknowledge that name. >> okay. if you look at the list again of the with prime ministers, and identify whether bskyb bid was discussed on any relevant occasion. the night of october 2010 there was dinner at chequers with mr. cameron.
might you have raised a question on that occasion? >> no. i'm pretty sure that was the birthday party. >> that's the private party we have covered about 50 minutes ago. what about the 23rd of december, 2010 in which you've already had some evidence about? >> well, it was rather than discussed at that dinner it was mentioned. i think james murdoch's testimony put that. and i was aware it was mentioned, but it was not by any means widely discussed at that dinner. it was mentioned because it was in the news because -- resigned from that role. >> were you party to any conversations along the lines that doctor cable had acted in breach of duty, and let's go to the next one, mr. hunt?
>> not necessary but clearly that was our view that we hoped that having always been put to us that be a very sad process, which it would be fair and democratic to find out that perhaps some personal prejudice had come into that decision was quite disappointing. so it would have been, it would've been along those lines, yes. no, that lease now the decision would be fair. [inaudible] you new mr. hunt, quite well, didn't you? >> not as well as others, no. on me, i had seen him occasionally but not particularly. >> even informally you were not putting out feelers to find out whether he would be on side or not? >> i think he hurt, i think he posted something on his website
saying that he was quite favorable early our on in the process before he had, before the decision went to him. i'm pretty sure spent so maybe he knew it anyway. >> maybe i knew from them, but not from the correct information with mr. hunt. [inaudible] on further occasions when you may have met with mr. cameron in 2010, can you enlighten us? >> yes, no. i've been asked about it before. mr. cameron attended a boxing day, at my sister-in-law's. and i popped in on my way to another dinner, and i actually haven't got any memory it has i don't think i did even speak to him, or samantha that night.
but they were deadly at my sister-in-law's house. they were definitely there for the party so i would have seen them. but not even have a conversati conversation. >> and -- [inaudible] are you sure it would not have covered the bskyb issued? >> definitely. absolutely not. i don't think it was a conversation. >> i will not come back to certain aspects of bskyb in due course, but i would like to cover general questions now about the subject matter, conversation with politicians seeking to ignore to the extent to which one can private and social matters. it's self evident your conversation with politicians were in place throughout the day, is that there? >> sometimes, yes. >> would they also embrace such as press regulation and media
policy? >> very rarely. at me, there are some examples of when, i would've met with a politician particularly to discuss that, but they were very infrequent. >> the role of the bbc, was that often the subject and are sometimes the subject of conversation? >> not particularly. i mean, from my perspective, some leaders pretty pro-bbc. i think in general, wasted in the public sector or taxpayers but it was something we would address at the bbc on occasion and others, but not, i never really had a conversation with a politician about sort of top slicing the licensing and all that. >> what about issues such as self-regulation to the press and the press complaints commission, where there was ever discussed with politicians?
>> again, probably not enough, but no. >> why did you say not enough speakers i wish is reflected on the fact that i couldn't remember a conversation with a politician when we did discuss pcc spent what about press ethics, was that ever the subject of conversation with politicians? >> obvious he because the last couple of years it has been the subject. >> can we go back before there because i think the last couple of years is in danger of muddying the waters. i want to speak more generally the opposite of that. >> i think after operation motorman and privacy there was a general debate going on in the media in terms of, particularly in 2003 which was pretty much until the end of use of private detectives.
certainly in the way that they have been for the last decade. and i think that was something that operation motorman and price privacy would've been discussed relevant at the time. i suppose press ethics particularly came up with jack straw. i know that mr. les hinton, mr. dacre had spent some time as most of the rest of the industry discussing the data protection act. and in particular the custodial sentences confined to journalists. and i remembered that being at a conversation with politicians, and i probably only got involved in that, again, quite late off. so there was some discussion but not a great deal. >> you were friends with mr. blair and mr. blair we know often felt "the daily mail" was hostile to him and his wife. was that something that you discussed with you?
>> on occasion, yes. >> quite often, perhaps? >> not quite often. it was probably more -- would discuss it with me. >> i'm not interested in private discussion but i'm interest in the private -- what was the concern being conveyed to you in this context? >> it wasn't, if you like, press ethics it was the tone. i think she read the letter was concerned that she felt a lot of her coverage was quite, was quite sexist. but she's not the first high profile female to think that about the uk media. that would come up on occasion. and she sometimes felt it was quite cruel and personal about
her weight and that it sort of concentrate on those things rather than in her eyes, her charity and the things she's going to do. but i'm not sure that's what you're asked me because it's not really press ethics. it's really more tone. >> it may be part of the whole picture. we know that mr. blair described the press in 2007. was that a discussion in which he had with you? >> no. although i think that post-iraq i think there was some conversations about the 24 hour media, which i think is what he was referring to, the fact that we the press have become therapy because there's always a constant need for a news story. application of 24 hour news was mentioned in terms of iraq, but
not really. i was surprised when he said that. >> his speech speaks for itself but i think it went further with just a temporal point. certainly 24 hours a day, the way they behave. sometimes they act a bit wild. do you see the analogy? >> i see the analogy. >> he didn't concern any of those -- he didn't have any those concerned with you? >> no. >> dead politicians ever complain to you privately about coverage of "the sun" of them a? >> yes, occasionally. you know, there was, if people, if someone thought it was unfair, i become you asked me a question earlier about how i can learn how you but if i passed
information from gordon brown to tony blair, i think it's something of that, which i said wasn't true, essentially people doing that. but on occasion they would complain. tony blair would often complain about attitude to europe and him on europe, regularly. many, many home secretaries would regularly compaign -- complaint about campaigns that we are doing in the paper, so yes, they did. i think our role was that i think i was correct because our role was those issues. >> further general questions, see if we can analyze the power play which we may or may not be an issue here. him you were very close to
mr. rupert murdoch's? >> i was close to them, yes. [inaudible] >> yes. >> would you also agree that politicians, for whatever reason, wanted to get close to mr. murdoch to advance their own interests, are we agreed to? >> i think that a lot of politicians wanted to put their case to mr. murdoch, advance their own interests is probably, i'm sure that most politicians have a higher view for what they were doing. >> we are not suggesting this is solely selfish, but i think we can agree more or less where we are. but this may be the more important point. in order to get close to mr. murdoch, in practice had to get close to you. would you agree with that? >> no. >> why not?
>> because it is not true. >> would you agree that politicians might see that you at influence over mr. murdoch? >> no, i don't, i sorely don't think that, no. i think a day, i was an editor of a newspaper, a very large circulation newspaper with a wide readership, with an exceptional censorship placing voters but and i do believe that, like other editors in similar situations, politicians did want to get access to the editor of "the sun" and his or her team as much as possible. but i don't think that people ever thought to get to mr. murdoch they had to go through me. i don't think that is correct. >> let's see if we can break that down. politicians certainly wanted to get close to you, to have access to you, didn't they? >> yes.
>> and you were someone who mr. murdoch trusted implicitly, weren't you? >> yes. i hope so. >> that was well understood by any politician who cared to look, wouldn't you agree? >> well, i think they thought we had a close working relationship, yes. >> didn't you ever examine the motives or thought processes of politicians, why they were wanting to get close to you? just even as self-indulgence, well, what's going on here, why are they trying to get close to me? >> well, i think, i think i always examined the ulterior motives of politicians. but i thought it was pretty obvious that they wanted to get, i don't know a politician that would turn down a meeting with a senior journalists from any
broadcast or any newspaper. so it wasn't, it didn't need a lot of thinking that politicians wanted to get access to journalists. i mean, that's been the same case for decades, as you, as you pointed out in your opening statement in this module. >> you were in possession of the megaphone which would be facility to them, in which they have access to, logically and self-evidently, might have influence over your readership. that's the truth, is in its? >> i think politicians were very keen to put their case to me and my team at "the sun" because of the large readership of "the sun." >> did you regard it as part of your role for, perhaps it was accidental byproduct of your
role, to build up friendships with politicians? >> well, i think some friendships did occur, but i think it's important to put it in the context of friendships. i mean, we all have lots of different friendships, old friends, new friends, work colleagues, associates. and you know, through the decade that i was a national newspaper editor and the years i was ceo, and a 10 years i was a journalist, some friendships were made. i don't think i ever forgot i was a journalist but i don't think they forgot they were a politician. >> did you not understand that you did have a degree of personal power over politicians? >> no. again, i just didn't see it like that. i saw my role as editor of "the sun" as a very responsible one,
and i enjoyed my job, and every part of that job, but particularly as i said an eyewitness statements, i enjoyed campaigns and i enjoyed, you know, bridging a gap between public opinion and public policy, taking on concerns of the readers. so i don't except in the power terms that you keep describing it as. >> your real interest is people, isn't it, mrs. brooks? you understand how human beings think and feel, don't you? >> i do like people, yes. as a journalist, do try to be empathetic otherwise no one would tell them anything. >> you understand the potential, i can put it in this way, personal outcome, how you can get people to do, might get people to do what you want, and what they're trying to do for you, don't you get any of that?
>> i'm not sure quite what you mean. >> there's nothing anything sinister. i'm talking about really the power of human empathy. some people are empathetic. it's not lost on you, is it? >> well, i hope, i hope to be empathetic in life to people, yes. >> i just wonder whether you sense, or sensed, we're talking about the past and now, how, the effect you might have had on politicians, some have made have even been afraid of you, is that true? >> i, i literally, like i said, i don't see politicians as the sort of easily scared people, because most of them are pretty strong, ambitious and highly motivated. so.
>> let's see if we can just take one case study and see whether there's any validity in that case study. you remember the they can sterilization case of? >> yes. spent which actually got doctor mccanns evidence at page 57. do you have that there? and if you look at page 57, line 11, question i asked was you talk about the meeting with rebekah brooks. are you on the right page of? >> they are not numbered in that way. >> they are actually. 15 at the bottom to each page has --
>> right. i've got it. thank you, sir. >> question was, you talked about the meeting with rebekah brooks which led to her view of your case, a formal review. just assistance quickly with it. can you recall when that was? i think is probably just elaborate a little bit. [inaudible] news international actually bid for the rights of the book along with a colleague. they would materialize the book. he was somewhat horrified at the prospect of that given what we been treated in the past. [inaudible] we were subsequently afraid by news international and associated to do is the book, and after much deliberation we had a couple of meetings. [inaudible]
so pausing there, there's going to be sterilization in both the sunday times and "the sun," i believe, do you recall that? >> id. spent a chance -- i do. >> your chief executive officer? >> that's correct. >> the price you paid for the sterilization, do you remember it? >> i can't remember actually. hundreds of thousands of pounds. >> a million we have been told. >> no, it wasn't a million. have a million maybe. i can't, i can't remember. i may, i can -- have to wait to find out but i'm not sure. >> to paraphrase the rest of what dr. mccann's said, was that your intervention was
successful in securing a review of the case. do you understand that? >> you asked if it was successful and he said it was. >> do member anything about that intervention? >> actually just go by, the reason i was involved as chief executive was because it concerned to newspapers, the sunday times and "the sun." if you like, i did the deal with harpercollins from a corporate point of view. and then left it to the two editors, to decide the different approaches. i had always gotten along very well with dr. mccann and kate mccann threw out there and credible dramatic time. and, in fact, i think day, if
asked would be very positive about "the sun" actually. and in this case i thought the idea to run the campaign, again, the review of madeline's case was the right thing for "the sun" to do, and i think the sunday times did the book. so my extension at the point was the original discussion with dr. mccann. i don't think i spoke to theresa may directly, but i'm pretty sure dominik may have done. >> let's see whether we can agree or disagree of what might happen. we were discussing the arrangements with the mccanns, you asked if there's anything more they wanted, do you recall that? >> maybe, yes. >> dr. mccann said he wanted a
uk review of the people? do you remember that? >> i do. >> was that all? [inaudible] >> maybe, yes. >> we have been going to a list of issues that dr. mccann and kate mccann wanted to be sure before we went forward with the sterilization. >> did you then take the matter up with downing street direct? >> no. >> did you not tell downing street that the sum is going to demand review that the prime minister should agree to the request and that sun has supported him in the last election? >> no. in fact, i didn't speak to downing street or the home secretary about this but i know
dominic or tom will have spoken to them. they would have spoken directly either to number 10 or the home office. i'm not sure. probably the home office. >> this unwanted and immediate result and a lesser would be posted all over the front page from the mccanns to the prime minister asking, unless downing street a great comedy not have an? >> i think that's how "the sun" had the campaign. there was a letter, yes. >> the home secretary was told that if she agreed to review, at page one letter would not run. do you remember that? >> no, i don't. >> the secretary of state did not respond in time. you did publish the letter on
the front page. do you remember that? >> i do remember "the sun" kicking off the campaign with a letter, yes. >> you don't believe there was any conversation or indeed threat to the secretary of state, is that right to? >> i'm pretty sure they would have not been a threat. you would have, we'll have to ask dominique, because as i said my involvement was to discuss the campaign in the continued search for madeleine with the mccanns, and to do the deal on the book, and, because i had done so many campaigns in the past they wanted my opinion but after that i'd left it to both editors to execute the campaign. >> what i've been told is that you then intervene personally, mrs. brooks. you told number 10 that unless the prime minister ordered the review by metropolitan police, "the sun" would put theresa may
on the front page every day until "the sun"'s demands were met. is that true or not? >> no. >> is any part of that drew? >> i didn't speak to number 10, or the home office about the mccanns, and telling think after the campaign had been one. in a can of any conversation as i had, and i don't think directly to prime minister. i think it was one of his teams. >> we can find out in due course whether this is true or not, but i must repeat it to you. you just said you directly intervened with the prime minister and warned him that unless it was a review by the metropolitan police "the sun" will put their home secretary theresa may on the front page every day until "the sun"'s demands were met. is that true or not? >> i did not say to the prime minister i will put theresa may
on the front page of "the sun" every day unless you give me -- i did not said the. invite any conversations with number 10 directly, they would have been particularly about that but they would've been if i'd been having a conversation "the sun" was leading a major campaign with a very strong letter on page one to start the campaign, and anyone who need me would have talked to me, any politician would have talked to me about it. but i did not say that. i don't think i said that. >> could we ask of this? were you part of a strategy that involved your paper putting pressure on the government with this sort of implied or expressed threat? >> i was certainly part of a
strategy to launch the campaign in order to get the review for the mccanns, yes, but i think there were threats, is too strong. >> well, give me another word then for threat, could you? >> persuade. >> persuasion, all right. >> in your own words, mrs. brooks, define for us what the strategy was. >> so, the mccanns were deeply upset that there hadn't been a review. it seemed incredibly unfair that they hadn't gotten it this review. you only have to read their book to understand that. so we said we would join forces with you. and dominic mohan and his team went away and i can our member when the id of the letter came a. it may have been my idea to do the letter, i get my member. but the campaign was launched in order to try to convince the
government or convince the home secretary that every he would be the right thing to do. >> do you know how i can about that the review was ordered? >> no, i, government. sorry, such a lot has happened since then. [inaudible] spirit i remember dominic mohan telling me the review was going ahead. action i think he said the mccanns have one. >> "the sun" headline on the 14th of may front page was result of the campaign, prime minister was quote opening the files, do remember that when? >> i remember "the sun," the mccanns winning a campaign, yes. >> so this is not as you say a case study in the exercise of power by you. i'm not suggesting that the end
result was right or wrong. many would say it was right. there should be a review. i'm just saying the means by which you achieve the objective. >> but it could be said that a review of madeleine mccann's case, with everything that has gone on, was the right thing to do. we presented the issue, we supported the mccanns in their determination to get a review. it wasn't new. they tried before, before the election, and the election had come into -- and "the sun," and home secretary clearly thought it was a good idea, too. because i'm pretty sure there wasn't, it wasn't a long campaign. it wasn't 10 years. i think it was quite short. >> yes, it didn't take very long because government yielded to sure pressure, didn't they? >> perhaps they were convinced by our argument. >> there are always two sides to the coin.
of course anybody would say on one level money should be spent, but the campaign to date on told has cost 2 million pounds. and some would say well, maybe that money i have come somewhere else. >> the madeleine campaign? >> called operation great, i understand. >> right. >> perhaps you did all you are doing was professing the views of your readers. >> is that it? >> in that case it was an issue that we explain to the reader's, that a review hadn't taken place, and that we presented the mccanns story, as in the reason why they wanted the review. i think that absolute child with a readership. the campaign was started with a very heartfelt lesson. and the politicians were
convinced our argument, or the mccanns argument was correct. >> there was a giant commercial interest to your paper because this sells copies, doesn't it? >> campaigns can sell newspapers. i think the sterilization of the book actually was good for circulation for the sunday times. i'm not sure how well the campaign was in circulation but that would be a matter of record. it may have been. [inaudible] at one point the shadow home secretary, wasn't he? >> yes, he was. >> do you remember a conversation with him over dinner in which you discuss the human rights act of? >> i do. >> and to cut to the quick, his position was in favor of the
action come your position was not, is that correct? >> i don't think that's quite right. similarly his position was that it was a shadow cabinet dinner. and his position was that david cameron's promise, partially say the tories party promised to repeal and replace it with a british bill of rights i think was the plan at the time, was not, should not be so easily promised. and so it wasn't that he was pro-or against the. he was just making a legal point that it was her difficult to do. >> were you impressed with him after that conversation speak parks well, as it turned out, he was absolutely right, but at the
time it was more his colleagues around the table because they may, i think they put out policy announcement that it was going to be in the manifesto. david cameron had written for "the sun" explaining this. and so the dinner conversation was quite heated, as he was the only one at the table saying actually, i might have been standing up to his challenge, colleagues like that, and at the end he turned out to be correct. >> didn't you tell mr. cameron after that conversation you had with mr. grieve, you can have someone like that as home secretary, he won't appeal to our readers either, and that's indeed what happened? >> no, i did not tell mr. cameron. what the camera dash it was a conversation, as i said, was a very heated conversation, or not by his colleagues were trying to
almost silence him at the table because he was in effect saying one of the promises the conservatives have made to the electorate was never going to repeal, and he was almost the opposite way around, that they were concerned that his view was not to be taken seriously. and as it turned out he was entirely correct. ..
>> absolutely not their view, and they were going to repeal the hra and replace it with a patient's bill of rights. and mr. green was mistaken. >> just before we break, could i take you back to this issue that we've bounced around several times which is who is leading who. do you think that at least in part what you were, in fact, doing to use your own words was bringing issues to your readers as opposed maybe to responding to your readers' interests? >> i think that's correct, yes. >> and i'm sure we'll come back to it this afternoon, but i would like you, your view which
you can reflect upon which is this. you're, obviously, everyone's entitled to be a friend of whomsoever they want to be a friend. that's part of life. but can you understand why it might be a matter of public concern that a very close relationship between journalists and politicians might create subtle pressures on the press who have the megaphone and on the politicians who have the policy decisions? >> yes, i can understand that. >> all right. um, 2:00. >> all rise. [background sounds]
>> we're bringing you live coverage of former news international chief executive rebekah brooks answering questions in the british phone hacking, examining the relationship of the press and politicians. investigators are looking into mrs. brooks' awareness of phone hacking of celebrity and public figures at the now-defunct "news of the world." this break is expected to last about an hour, we'll have more live coverage then. if you missed any of c-span's coverage, they're available on our web site, c-span.org, or you can also find a profile of rebekah brooks testifying today and follow developments in the phone hacking scandal. that's at c-span.org. while this break is underway, we'll go back to testimony earlier today as we hear ms. brooks about her relationship with politicians as head of "news of the world." >> the witness today is
mrs. rebekah brooks, please. >> thank you. [background sounds] >> [inaudible] >> i pledge by almighty god that the evidence i shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> your full name, please, mrs. brooks. >> rebekah mary brooks. >> may i ask you to look in front of you and advise us if these are the statements you made, the first one dated last year, the second one dated this year. are you content these are your
statements? the timeline of your career, mrs. brooks, you can tell me if i make any mistakes. you joined news international on the sunday magazine "news of the world" in 1999, right? >> that's right. >> 1995 you were appointed deputy editor, 1998 appointed deputy editor of "the sun" and in may 2000 editor of "the news of the world," page 31, is that right? >> yes, sir, that's right. >> editor of "the sun" january, i think, 2003? >> yes. >> ceo of news international -- can we be clear of the dates here, though, because there's been some doubt about it. was the announcement of your appointment in june 2009 when you took up the job formally on the 2nd of september, 2009? >> that's correct. >> and then you resigned on the
17th of july, 2011 -- >> 15th. >> 15th of july. and so we're completely clear about the constraint bearing on your evidence. you're under police investigation in the context of operation wheating, operation -- [inaudible] and also for allegedly perverting the course of justice. is that true? >> yes. >> mrs. brooks, i'm greatful for the obvious care you put into the statement that you made, and i'm conscious of the difficulty the time must be for you. >> the other constraints borne upon you may relate to documents including e-mails and texts, or particularly their absence. may i ask you, please, to look at paragraph 30 of your second witness statement which is our page 02577. >> yes. >> if i could make it clear
there that you have had reference to a diary by your former pa, and let me be clear what sort of diary we're talking about. is it an ordinary desk diary, or is it an alistair campbell-type diary? >> definitely not an alistair-campbell diary. the appointments in there are not the complete pick which are, and -- picture, and it's difficult to know actually where some of the meetings took place, so i've done my best to give you a schedule, but it's more of a favor than a precise diary. >> it's a schedule of appointments, but it's not a narrative of what was discussed on any particular case. >> no. >> is that fair? paragraph 31, mrs. brooks, you say since news be international you've had no access to your work e-mails. however, the e-mails and texts that were on my blackberry at the time i left news international i saved. does it follow that your work
e-mail account was blocked to you in some way or did something different happen? >> no, i think it was blocked on the day i left. >> when you say the e-mails and texts were imaged and saved, can you tell us approximately when those events occurred? >> so my blackberry, um, was imaged by my legal team when it was returned from the mps, and it contained, i think, about six weeks of e-mails and less of texts, but about a month of texts. but we had to image them, and we had some problems with them. >> approximately when was your blackberry returned by the mps? >> i think about three weeks later, maybe longer. >> can you give us a month, please, so that we -- >> oh, sorry. in july. >> 2011, obviously? >> '11. >> and so we have, as you explain, e-mails and texts which only cover a limited period from
the begin canning of june -- beginning of june 2011 until, you say, the 17th of o july, maybe the 15th of july -- >> i think it was the 17th. >> you also confirm that there is nothing of relevance to this inquiry in your private account by which, of course, you're referring to private e-mail accounts, is that right? >> that's correct. >> does it follow then that any e-mails you might have had with politicians would only have been through your ni e-mail account? >> that's correct. >> and any text message contact with politicians would only have been on your blackberry which was a work blackberry. there was no other mobile phone. okay. been asked to put to you this question. were there any e-mails or texts of mr. cameron or mr. osborn on your blackberry at the time you left news international?
>> no, although one when we got the image back, there was one from mr. cameron that was come pressed -- compressed in june, but there's no content in it. >> so it's a complete mystery of anything it might contain, is that right? >> did you receive messages or come miss ration or support from politicians in july 2011 in particular? >> some. >> either directly or indirectly, is that right? >> mainly indirectly. >> yes. in order to get a fair picture since we focus on one person alone, the picture will logically be distorted. are you able to assist us? >> i had some indirect contact from politicians, but nothing direct. >> the indirect ones, who were the politicians?
>> um, a variety really. some tories, very few labour politicians. >> will you be a bit more specific? [laughter] >> i'm sorry, i'm not trying to be evasive. i received some indirect messages from number 10, number 11, home office, foreign office. >> so you're talking about secretaries of state, prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer, aren't you? >> and also people who worked in those offices as well. >> uh-huh. and labour politicians, how about them? >> like i say, there was very few labour politicians. >> okay, mr. blair. did he send you one? >> yes. >> probably not mr. graham. >> no. he's probably getting the bunting out.
>> it has been reported in relation to mr. cameron but who knows whether it's true that you received a message of support along the lines, keep your head up. is that true or not? >> from? >> from mr. cameron indirectly. have you seen that in the times? >> yes, i did see it in the times. along those lines, i don't think those were the exact words, but along those lines. >> is the gist right? >> yes. but it wasn't a direct message. >> did you also receive a message from him by an intermediary along these lines, sorry i could not have been as loyal to you as i have been, but ed miliband had me on the run or words to that effect? >> it's similar but, again, very indirectly. >> so broadly speaking, that message was transmitted to you,
was it? >> yes. >> be do you happen to know how these messages do enter the public domain? >> well, we have a very strong, free press who have great access to politicians. >> yes. >> so -- >> we may be coming back to that. but you can't be of any more clarity than that, can you, mrs. brooks? >> i'm a journalist doing my job. >> mr. cameron also said publicly we all got too close to news international, words to that effect. was that a view he ever communicated to you personally? >> no. >> about mr. murdoch, by way of background, we know he told the house of lords' communications committee -- this was back in 2007 when he was spoken to, i think, in the new york -- that he was a traditional proprietor.
he exercises editorial control on major issues like which party to back in a general election or policy on europe. do you agree with that or not? is. >> yes. >> did it apply as much to "the news of the world "as "the sun," or did that only apply to "the sun"? >> i think he, i think mr. murdoch is probably more interested in "the sun" in terms of political issues, but be it also applied to "the news of the world" as well when i was there. >> now, your evidence to the committee, question 1461, i think it would be fair to say that before any appointment he knew me pretty well. you stand by that, do you? >> yes. well, particularly before my appointment to editor of "the sun." >> yes, 2003, and probably in 2000 when you were appointed editor of "the news of the world" or not? >> less so.
>> then question 1462, he would be aware of my views, both social views, cultural views and political views. again, you stand by that or not? >> yes. >> then you said take europe, for example. mr. murdoch was absolutely aware of my views on europe. i think even before i became editor of "the news of the world," maybe even deputy editor. was that right? >> yes. >> and so without delving into this in any great detail, your views on europe, presumably you are a u.s. skeptic, correct? >> yes, i suppose so. and politically you, your opposition is fairly similar to mr. murdoch's, is it? >> in some areas, yes? >> in which areas do they differ? >> well, we disagreed about quite a few things. um, more in margins of it rather
than the principles, so, i don't know, the environment, dna database, immigration, top-up fees, imagined celebrities in the paper versus serious issues, columnists, font size, you know? we had a lot of disagreement. >> yes. >> but in the main, on the big issues, we had similar views. >> yes. and so on the issue of celebrity against serious issues, where did each of you stand on that? >> um, i like more celebrity, and he wanted more serious issues. >> and why did you want more celebrity? >> well, i liked, um, i thought the readers were quite interested in -- we only had to look at the viewing figures of bbc or itv to see the celebrity programs, the real-life, the reality programs that do so well.
and i took from those figures that our readers were quite interested in that. he thought there was too much of it, although he liked "x-factor." >> >> [inaudible] not going to pry into that too much. are you a strong believer in human rights and the human rights act? >> not particularly, no. i mean, in its form, obviously, its existence, absolutely. but there were parts of the human rights act that we campaigned against in "the sun" when i was there. at one point the conservative party, i think, were going to repeal it and replace it with a british bill of rights, i that was the case, but i think that's now been dropped. >> we may come back to that issue in a more specific context. when you were appointed editor of "the news of the world" in 2000, was that mr. murdoch's decision? >> i was actually told by les
hinton, and be i didn't speak to mr. murdoch until after that. >> but was it his decision? >> i think it was mr. hinton's strong recommendation, and, um, like i said, i didn't want speak to mr. murdoch until i'd actually taken the job. >> there was some discussion at the seminars we had in october in relation to the departure of mr. hall. would you care to enlighten us about that at allsome. >> no, i'm sorry. i was at "the sun" at the time. >> with the editorial line you took in particular with relation to the sun reflect mr. murdoch's thinking? >> well, i think as i say in my witness statement, um, it really is important to differentiate between, um, mr. murdoch's thinking, my thinking, the political team's thinking and the thinking of the readers. i mean, i know i spend a lot of time on it in my witness
statement, but to get across the point that, you know, it was the readers' views were always reflect inside -- reflected in any politician or political party. i know when mr. murdoch gave evidence he said if they want to know what i think, read the sun editorials, but i don't think he was being totally literal about that. >> be if you want to look at my thinking, look at "the sun," those were his exact words. >> yes. >> some say it was a considered response to a question of fact from justice leveson, you'll recall that, don't you? >> i don't think it was ill-guarded, i'm jutte saying i don't think it was -- i'm just saying i don't think it was literal. >> why not then? >> because there were lots of things in "the sun" that wouldn't reflect his views. >> i think he meant on the big
points, not the minutiae. >> okay, i'll accept that. >> paragraph 12 of your second statement. i'm always, now, on your second statement. you give us a little thumbnail sketch of what "the sun" is, what it represents, what its culture values are. embodied an attitude. then you say sometimes said that the relationship between "the sun" and its readers reflects the national conversation. if you wanted to know what the nation was talking about, you would look at "the sun." we have a bit of a contrast here. some would say if you want to know what mr. murdoch is thinking, look at "the sun," and you're saying if you want to know what the nation's thinking about, look at "the sun." which is correct? >> the one in my witness statement. >> why do you say that? >> because i believe it. >> what do you mean by "the nation" here? >> well, i think if you accept
that "the sun" for many, many years has been the biggest-selling newspaper in the country and that, you know, the saturday sun overtook the "news of the world" i think, about five years ago and maybe longer, actually, in circulation terms. so you have this huge reader hardship. i don't know what the exact figure is today, but we also use this as eight million, the paper next to that is "the the daily mail" which is six million. so i'm basing it on such a large percentage of the british population who would come in contact with "the sun." they may not read it every day, but they would come in contact with "the sun" at some point or another. >> you're addressing a different point, because it assumes that the nation is monolithic or homogeneous, which it isn't. the bigger the readership is, it might be said the more diverse its views are, the more singular
its views are. do you see that point? >> i do see that point, and i make it later on again in my witness statement which is, and this has been touched on throughout this inquiry, actually, broadcast media has become more and more influential and important over newspapers because it's a fact that newspaper circulation in the printed form are declining. so i do accept that. it was meant to say if, for example, the conversation at work so during the -- [inaudible] clash, you know, that conversation, the incident there, that will be talked about. that's what i meant by national conversation. it wasn't meant to be taken any more literally than that. >> a reflection, then, of the sort of debate which you would hear in any pub, any dining room table or whatever, but not a reflection of the individual/collective views of the readership, is that a fair
description? >> no, not marley. not particularly. i think, no. >> i'm really leading into paragraph 15, mrs. brooks, and the myth which you seek to explode. that newspaper editors are unelected -- [inaudible] that's true, isn't it? >> i don't think it is, no. >> well, who elects you apart from mr. murdoch? >> well, we're not elected officials. >> but you're saying a myth, that it's a truth, isn't it? newspaper editors or proprietors are an unelected -- [inaudible] , respect they? >> if you view them as that. i don't view editors as unelected forces. >> how do you view them then? >> journalists. >> but isn't the point you're really make anything paragraph 15 not so much about the unelected force, um, one could
talk about unelected and democratic, whatever, if it's relevant. it is that you're shaping and changing government policy to suit your own interest, isn't that the myth you're really talking about? >> that was also as i was suggesting, yes. >> but there is no doubt, or perhaps you would disagree, that newspaper editors and proprietors are a powerful force. they have a voice, they have a megaphone. >> i think i understand, i understand, sir, what you're saying. i think what i'm trying to say is that particularly for newspapers like "the sun" is you have to, you have to -- your power is your readership. it's not an individual power or, um, you know, it's a readership power. and i think that's really important. i think tony gallagher, the
editor of "the telegraph" said this, you know, if he fell under a bus, the power of his office would go. and i think just adding to his point, i think at "the sun" the readers are the most powerful. it is their voice that we try and reflect, their injustices, their concerns that we try and tackle, their interests we try and engage in. so i just don't see, i think i can't remember what the question was, but i was more reacting to the fact that every day, um, the readers come and elect us as newspapers. >> yes, well, we've heard that several teaches, but i think -- times, but i think we discussed this yesterday or certainly in the recent past that the extent to which editors are reactive and the extent to which they can, in fact, lead opinion. they've got to reflect the
overall position of their readership. i understand that. they can't suddenly go out on a limb when they know their readers won't follow them. but they are in a position to lead opinion, would you agree with that? >> i think you can, you can present issues to the readership, yes. and that's part of being an editor. >> can you present issues with a certain spin, a certain slant, don't you? >> well, depending on the paper, yes. i mean, you can do. >> your paper -- >> i wouldn't say spin, i would say attitude. >> or perspective then? >> okay. >> >> you mentioned that "the sun," i think, was an attitude. your particular social charge. but maybe that permeates all the way through. when you were editor of "the news of the world," we had ed from mr. coulson yesterday --
evidence from mr. coulson yesterday, would your evidence be similar to mr. coulson's or different, the amount of contact, sort of discussions? >> what did mr. coulson say, sir? >> from well, he phoned -- it varied, but it was on saturday evenings if at all, it might be twice a month, it might be less often than that. >> i'm sure that's right at "the news of the world," yes. >> and he was interested in the big stories, was he? >> occasionally, yeah. i mean, he, his contact, mr. murdoch's contact with "the news of the world" was much more limited than "the sun" or other newspapers. >> and when you become editor of "the sun" which is 2003, paragraph 25 of your statement, you say you believed that mr. murdoch was instrumental in your appointment, is that right? >> yes.
>> do you know that to be true, or you believe it to be true? >> um, i know that to be true. >> how often would he speak to you when you were editor of "the sun"? >> um, very frequently. >> give us an idea, mrs. brooks. >> well, um, it wasn't as if, it wasn't a regular pattern. sometimes it could be every day, sometimes if something else was going on around the world, it would be less than that, but very frequently. >> even evidently when he wasn't in this country, is that right? >> mainly when he wasn't in the country, yes. >> and it said that you had a close relationship with mr. murdoch, various stories abound. see whether any of them are true. said that you used to swim together when he was in london, is that true? >> no, it isn't.
>> november 2005 we recall that you were ared for alleged a-- arrested for alleged assault on your ex-husband. you recall that, no doubt. >> i do recall it, yes. >> i think that you'd been to the 42nd birthday party of matthew freud that evening, had you? >> i don't know if that was the birth date, but it was a party, yes. >> and so evidently other members of the murdoch family would have been there, wouldn't they? >> i can't remember. not particularly, but -- >> well, mr. murdoch, mr. rupert murdoch was there, wasn't he in. >> no, he wasn't. >> it's said that you kept him waiting for a breakfast meeting the following morning. is that bit true? >> no. >> and that he sent a dress to the police station, is that bit true? >> no. [laughter] >> so this is all fiction then. >> completely. i don't know -- where is it from? >> various sources, but -- [laughter]
>> you need mr. sources, mr. jay. >> well, confidential sources, their all in the public domain, actually, but i'm not expressing a view on their reliability. >> okay, well, i'm sorry -- >> may be leading up to a question much later on in relation to all of this. >> with okay. >> um, there is evidence i've seen that there was a 40th birthday party for you at mr. rupert murdoch's house. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> and were politicians present on that occasion? >> yes, sum. >> and mr. cameron and mr. blair were presumably present, were they? >> um, it was a surprise party for me, so i know mr. blair was there, i'm not sure if mr. cameron was. possibly. >> there are all sorts of stories as to what the birthday present was, but i'm not going to ask you because it's outside -- [laughter] >> with you've asked me if i've
been swimming with mr. murdoch, please, can ask me about the birthday present. [laughter] >> no, i won't. in 2006 you were appointed chief executive officer of news international -- >> 2009. >> 2009, pardon me. was that mr. murdoch's idea? >> i discussed that appointment with james andrew murdoch. >> but was it rupert murdoch's idea? >> i think it was more james murdoch's idea in the beginning, but both of them, both of their ideas. >> why was that job of to you? >> i think, um, i'd been editing "the sun" for seven years by then, and i was interested in, very interested like most journalists are, in looking at the future economic models of journalism and, basically, how you continue to, um, financially keep, you know, high quality
journalism going. and i think the digital age and the ipad and the payrolls, they're all of interest to me and something that i was looking forward to doing. >> okay. now, mr. marin was your replacement as editor, i think he was your strong recommendation, is that right? >> he was, yes. >> why? >> he'd been my deputy for a few years, so i'd seen the paper that he'd edited in my absence and, also, i'd attended, um, a few more business management, um, programs in the last year of my editorship of "the sun." a couple modules at the lsc, internal management program, and dominic had had much more time to edit the paper on his own, and i thought he was doing a very good job. >> in terms of the general political perspective i've
mentioned earlier where you stood vis-a-vis mr. murdoch, does mr. marin stand in more or less the same place or a different place? >> not entirely -- dominic's not entirely the same as i am or mr. murdoch, but then none of us, you know, we all have different shades of gray. >> the same color though, is that right? >> not necessarily. >> okay. july 2011, were you embarrassed when mr. murdoch indicated that you were his priority? >> you're referring to the, um, when we -- in the street? >> indeed. >> um, i wasn't at the time because i didn't think that's what he was saying. he was being asked by many reporters lots of different questions, and and i think someone said what's your
priority. he looked towards me and said, "this one." i took that to me as this issue. it was only the next day how it could have also been interpret inside the papers that i realized that was the interpretation that they'd put on -- so i wasn't embarrassed at the time. >> oh. >> your relationships with poll the decisions, can we go back to mr. blair and can do this chronologically, paragraph 53 of your statement. you say you met him on numerous occasions, and these meetings increased with frequency throughout his decade as prime minister. had many informal -- sorry, formal, informal and social meetings with him, some of which i've been able to detail. we've also spoke on the telephone on a number of issues, so you're giving a picture here
of very frequent contact or at least contact which became very frequent, is that fair? >> i think it became more frequent when i became editor of "the sun, "but that probably would go for most politicians. although, obviously, as you heard from mr. murdoch, mr. blair flew out to a news corp. conference, i think around 1995, and i probably met him shortly after that. so -- and then he, obviously, and they were in power for ten years. so it's over a very long period of time. >> i'm sure it wasn't key, but an important date was in 2003 when you became editor of "the sun," did you find your contact with politicians generally increased from that point in time? >> yes, i would say so. >> it was also clear that -- tell me if this is wrong -- that you became friendly with
mr. blair? >> yes. >> were there texts and e-mail exchanges with him or not? >> no. he didn't have a phone or mobile phone be. mobile phone or, in fact, use a computer when he was prime minister. >> so all the telephone contact is known only on a land line, is it? >> yes. >> from his perspective? you say in paragraph 54 tony blair, his senior cabinet, advisers and press secretaries were a constant presence in my life for many years. why do you think that was? >> with i think they made sure it was, and i'm not -- i wasn't unique in that. >> well, why do you think they made sure it was? >> i think, um, i think you have to look particularly at the campbell appointment. he came from being political editor of "the daily mirror," he -- and tony blair's advisers
put a huge store on certain newspapers, and i think that they made, um, shall we say a shift change from, um, the major government into trying to get as much access to the press as possible. i mean, millions of books have been written about this, so it's not a particularly insightful comment but relevant to that question. >> it's just like "the sun," then reacting to it readers wishes, it's you as an editor reacting to the politicians' wishes, is that correct? >> no, not at all. >> the impetus on your narrative is coming from the politicians, not from the press. >> i think -- >> which is correct? >> i think the point of new labour, if you like, embracing the media in a different way was because they felt they had a very big story to tell, shall we say.
they had a very big story to tell about the changes that they wanted to make or have made to the labour party. and on the press' side, me included, we're journalists, and access to politicians who can tell us things that we don't know, explain things that are going on, tell us policy that's being developed, all those things that we can report back to our readers. i mean, that's a journalist's job. >> your job, you tell us, is to hold politicians to account. >> absolutely. >> how can you do that if they are a constant presence? >> um, well, very easily because you can find out quite easily what's going on and hold them account for it. a constant presence doesn't mean you don't hold politicians to account. i think every journalist and every newspaper does that all the time on behalf of it readers. >> depends if line is crossed, if a friendship develops or an antipathy develops in the constant presence is in danger of being abused. >> um, well, i think if a
politician or prime minister ever put a friendship with a media executive or media company in front of his or her abilities to do their professional duties properly, then that is their failing. and i think if a journal ever compromised their readership or their role as a journalist and through friendship, then that is their failing. so you -- i think simply put. >> tony blair and new labour were, arguably, pasters of -- masters of spin. what steps, if any, did you take to counteract that? >> first of all, i actually think that gordon brown and be charlie whelan were masters of spin more than alistair campbell and be tony blair in terms of -- i don't think it's often reported that it was tony blair
and alistair campbell. but i think the whole of new labour engaged in a new way, a more intense way with the media when they came to power. >> the question was, what steps f any, did you take to counteract that? >> well, i don't think any journalist takes a story from a politician or a line from the politician and repeats it verbatim in their newspaper without checking it or analyzing it. i mean, a role of a journalist is not to just gather information, it's also to analyze and prove that information. >> but you weren't disinterested in this, mrs. brooks, were you on mr. blair's side? you just made that clear in the answer you gave a minute ago, wouldn't you agree? >> i think when you back a political pear in the way that -- party in the way that "the sun" did in 1997, i wasn't on "the sun" then, but, you know, i was a close observer. i don't think you back them whole-heartedly.
in fact, i think if you look at "the sun"'s front pages from 1997 to when tony blair left in 2007, you would at some point be quite confused that it was actually supporting that party particularly on europe. but other issues as well. >> on the level of personality and the clash there was between mr. bayer and mr. brown which you -- mr. blair and mr. brown, you were on mr. blair's side, weren't you? >> i think that, um, you're talking about the hostilities between gordon brown and tony blair? >> yes. you were talking about it in the first sentence of paragraph 61 of your statement. >> request right. and what was the question, sorry, mr. jay? >> were you on mr. blair's side, not mr. brown's side? weren't you? >> i, what i said in the statement was that in the latter years -- and, again, there's been much better political commentary on this from, actually, many of the books you've asked me to read for this
inquiry -- but in the latter years of tony blair's prime ministership, the hostilities between him and gordon brown got increasingly worse. and the worst of it did become a sort of tony blair camp and a gordon brown camp. and on particular issues, um, so, for example, the welfare reform bill which i think was, we first tried to get through in 2004, hostilities between gordon brown and tony blair were such that it didn't get through that time. we tried again, it was very important for some readers. so you'd have an insight how those hostilities were effect being the way to govern, so you would have an opinion on them. >> whose side were you on? >> neither. on the side of the reader's. so you would, it wasn't an automatic given that alistair campbell or charlie whelan were
telling you the truth. it was our job to analyze it. >> you told us you were friends with mr. blair. was your relationship with mr. brown at the same level? were you friends with him? >> i was, um, i was actually friends with czar rehr brown -- sarah brown, his amazing lady, and that was the friendship. so probably not. >> no. so you were more friendly with mr. blair than you were with mr. brown, weren't you? >> by the end, yes. but not at the beginning, no. and, actually, as mr. murdoch said in his testimony, um, he had a very warm relationship with mr. brown, and i would see him, i would see gordon brown quite regularly too. >> all the commentators say, let me come back to this, that in relation to this feud you took the side of mr. blair and not mr. brown. did you or didn't you? >> i think you have to say which
part of the feud. there were many, many elements to the feud. so, for example, in the famous curry house coup i think we did, in fact, take mr. blair's side because the country hadn't been, was almost on ice because of the hostilities. and i felt an injustice, and on behalf of our readers because policy wasn't getting through. but not always. no, not always. >> but most of the time, mrs. brooks? >> i think -- >> can we agree on that? >> i'm reluctant to agree because i'm not quite sure it's true. you know, might say 50/50. but at the end particularly we were on the i'd -- we were on the side of mr. blair. >> supposedly, an affair interested your readers. you maintained impartiality between them? is that what you're trying to tell us?
>> impartialities between, i'm sorry? >> mr. brown and mr. blair. >> i'm sorry, i don't quite -- what is the question? that i -- >> in fact, you didn't take either person's side. you say this was an entirely, as it were, neutral -- >> no, it wasn't a playground spat. they were the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer. we were a newspaper who was looking after the real serious concerns of our readers. so it wasn't that we were, i would stand in one corner of the playground, and alan would stand in the other, and it would be he was on gordon's side, and i was -- it just didn't work like that. every story, every feud, every, um, you know, mediation by john prescott or peter mannerson at the time was analyzed be i the media in a just and proper way. so i just don't think you can capture it like that. >> is it true that in exchange
for, yenly speaking -- generally speaking, supporting mr. blair, "is the sun" would often receive scoops? >> well, i'd like to think that we were the first to receive scoops, but i think that's to -- [inaudible] great political journalism and then -- [inaudible] but we did get a lot of scoops. >> they weren't fed to you, you think? >> well, not all of them were particularly pleasant, so, no. >> some of them were, weren't they? >> well, trevor and i had some good sources. >> were those close to mr. blair himself, those were your good sources? >> as you said, you don't reveal your sources. >> okay. you look at the schedule of meetings with british prime ministers which is rmb1. >> would you know what tab that
is? sorry? >> yes -- >> number 3. >> tab 3. you put in a revised version, so, um -- >> have we -- okay. >> i think we need to be absolutely clear about this. you're not butting this forward -- putting this forward necessarily as 100% complete. >> no. >> and to the documents you've told us about, the existence only of a desk diary -- >> but it's not even my own desk diary. >> some meetings have been canceled, some meetings may not be included. so this should not be seen as other than indicative? is that the way you push -- the way you wish to put it? >> that's correct. >> we know from alistair campbell's diary that there was a dinner on the 27th of april, 1997. you, your ex-husband, mr. blare, mr. campbell which is four days before the famous election of the first of may, 1997. do you recall that?
>> not particularly, but i'm sure it's correct. and we were at, we were following mr. blair's conference, last conference on education, we were doing a big number on education in the papers, so i think it was to do with that, but i can't remember. is it in alistair's book, i'm sure -- >> yes, page 773 of the first volume. obviously, you were going to be discussing what was then 99% likely to happen in the -- a huge victory for the labour party. >> well, it was 14 years ago. i, i know there was a meeting at an education rally, so it might be the same, one and the same thing. >> okay. where we see an entry such as tony blair lunch, does that mean just mr. blair, or does it mean, or can it mean and others' presence as well?
>> um, i would say that up until quite late in my editorship of "the sun" that most of those dinners would have been attended by political editor and particularly lunches would have been, um, and all prime ministers do this to newspaper groups and senior cabinet ministers, is they come into the newsroom and sit down with the editor and senior executive, and, you know, discuss issues of the day. so i think a lot of those would have been that format. >> dinners in restaurants, how does that work? >> you -- >> just mr. blair or other people there? >> in 1999, i doubt that very much. again, i'm sorry, that is literally what it says in the desk diary. i have probably better notes at news international -- >> your memory, mrs. brooks, particularly if you look at the period from 2003 to 2007, you'll have memories not of particular
events, but whether are other people were there on occasion or not. >> i mean, like everybody, i'll probably have a better recollection of 2003 to '7 than 1999 where it's 13, 14 years ago. >> i was asking you about 2003. >> which -- >> i'm not asking about a particular entry, i'm just asking whether, hey, dinner with the prime minister in a restaurant might have been one to one or if it would always have been with someone else. >> i think in that period i, from memory, had about three dinners with mr. blair on my own. >> we see one dinner at the home of matthew freud and elizabeth murdoch. again, if one reads to your line, one would be led to believe there were frequent occasions when mr. blair went with you to the home of mr. freud and elizabeth murdoch.
is that correct or not? >> >> no, once. >> you can only remember one, or you're sure there was only one? >> i'm sorry, i thought your question was that i took mr. blair to the home of math -- matthew -- >> well, you're there on the same occasion, whether you're taking him or not. >> no, i would have seen mr. blair probably much more since he left office in their company but, on occasion, yes, he was there. >> informally? spontaneously? in does that ever happen? >> no. >> you say on occasion. can you give us a feel for the number of occasions? when he was at the home of matthew freud and elizabeth murdoch can? when he was prime minister? >> i actually think quite few. >> quite a few? >> no, few as in very few. >> sorry. [inaudible] is that what you're telling me? >> maximum, yes.
>> can we rook at the elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005 as one piece. was the support of your newspaper whether it be "the news of the world" or "the sun," i know you weren't editor in 1997, the subject of discussion with mr. blair or his advisers? >> um, i have no idea for 1997. not in 2001 that i can remember. but in 2005 it was a very difficult time for the labour party, and i think, um, i'm pretty sure it was michael herod who was editor at the time, and we were very even-handed during that election process giving both equal weight the all party
policies. so i'm not sure we particularly had a conversation with the labour party about support. >> in 2005, though, "the sun "did support the labour party. that's a matter of record. >> that's right. >> it changed, of course, in september 2009, but the question was, was the fact "the sun "'s support the summit of private discussion with mr. blair or his advisers? >> um, not that i can remember, no. i wouldn't be that way. it wouldn't be -- in fact, i think in 2005, again, it's very difficult. i wish i'd had some access to my notes, but i think in 2005 "the sun," we left it right to the day. and i think we we erected in sot of a vatican-style chimney on the roof of --
[inaudible] and whatever colored smoke, sorry, it was funny at the time -- [laughter] clearly lost in translation now. [laughter] anyway, whatever smoke at the time came up. so we had red smoke and blue smoke. not sure -- >> you'd run out of yellow smoke. [laughter] >> i'm not sure we could find any yellow smoke at the time. we clearly would have needed it now. and i think we left it as i remember being on the roof and looking down and be seeing all the -- and seeing all the press guys there waiting for the color to come out. and i didn't see mr. blair standing there -- >> that wasn't the question. the question was not a straightforward one. was "the sun"'s support of prior discussion? >> no, sorry. i keep saying the same thing. no, i don't remember having a prior discussion with him about it. i think if i'm correct in the
2005 vatican chimney, we didn't tell anyone until we got to the roof of -- [inaudible] what color was coming out. >> did you at least make it clear to mr. blair and his advisers before that election which aspects of labour party policy would be less or more acceptable to your readers? >> there was not particular, um, discussion about policy, but it would be fair to say that, um, leading up to the 2005 general election there was a huge debate on the next stage of the european constitution. and, um, "the sun," "the daily mail" and, i think, "the telegraph" were campaigning to have a memorandum in the 2005 manifesto so, yes, that would have been subject of discussion, you know, is there any meetings pre the 2005?
i'm not sure really. >> just look at one particular article which is tab in this bundle -- tab 27 in this bunding we've prepared. you'll see a piece in "the sun "from 2005 do you remember this one, mrs. brooks? >> sorry, i'm just trying to -- um, yes. sorry, i've got it now. >> hopes dashed, news' crushing blow to gordon brown's chances of becoming prime minister -- >> is there a date on this? >> no, there isn't. it's printed online, but you know it's 2005. mr. blair's -- [inaudible] over the last two weeks, but he
inintends to lead labour for five more years and may even find more support. was that piece the outcome of a conversation between you and mr. blair? >> i think the byline will be trevor caffer in, but it's not printed on here. as i said, trevor and i had some good sources, but i don't think it's fair to reveal who they were. >> well, i think, i think you can tell me whether it was mr. blair himself. as it were, he planted this in "the sun" with your help. can you tell us or not? >> i don't think i can tell you that at all. >> okay. >> although i do remember this story that i think sometime in 2004, and this is going from memory, um, gordon brown had felt that he had to come to an agreement. i think it was in andrew --
[inaudible] book, i think, anyway, come to an agreement that he would step down before the 2005 election. and then some point between that agreement in 2004 which i think was during the summer when they all came back from recess, i think tony blair changed his mind and trevor and be i had heard about this and, of course, we asked even and be we got that story. >> it's also suggested that you passed on material, intelligence, call it what you will, gained from your few dinners with gordon brown. you passed that on to tony, tony blair. is that true or not? >> he suggested that, sorriesome. >> doesn't matter. in the same way you're not telling me your sources, i'm certainly not going to -- [laughter] >> okay, we'll play this game all day. >> no, it isn't, and i think your source might be john prescott. and it's not true. >> completely untrue. >> not true.
>> we can see from the schedule at rnb1245 you had much less contact with mr. brown when he was prime minister than you had had with mr. blair when he was prime minister. would you agree? >> well, he wasn't very, he wasn't prime minister for very long. and, um in 2009 "the sun" came out for the tories, and contact was very limited after that. >> well, it starts on the 30th of march, 2009. there was a telephone call, and that's the last contact you've recorded. >> the -- when, sorry? can i just check that date? >> yeah. 30th of march, 2009. do you see that one? >> um, i can't, but anyway, i know -- i'm not sure that's